The 3 Things To Understand About Your Employment Rights As A Drug Addict


Drug addiction is a serious disease that can happen to anybody. It can upend your life and cause a lot of difficulty. People often lose their family, friends, and even their jobs while in the grip of addiction.  It is important to know that drug addiction is often considered a disability.

This means that under certain laws you have specific protections at work. Although this means you have rights, it is a bit more complex. In this article, we will go over several things to understand about your rights if you are a drug addict.

1. Addiction as a disability

In some circumstances, the US government categorizes drug addiction as a disability. Under this umbrella, there come certain rights and benefits. The ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees with drug addiction from discrimination. This means that your employer cannot mistreat you because of your addiction.

It’s important to understand that this protection has limits, especially when it comes to current illegal drug use. If you are currently using illegal drugs, the ADA might not protect you in the same way.

This is because the law focuses on supporting those who are not currently using illegal drugs. So, if you’re actively using illegal drugs, you might not have the same protections at work as someone who is in recovery or working towards it. This distinction directly affects the support and rights you have in your workplace. You should read more about employment law and look into getting representation if you feel you qualify for the ADA but are being treated unfairly.

2. Accommodations at work

The ADA law says your employer should make reasonable accommodations for your recovery needs. For example, you might need to change your work schedule so you can go to treatment sessions. Or, you might need a quieter place to work if you’re feeling stressed.

These are reasonable requests that an employer shouldn’t have any trouble accommodating. As long as your job can be fulfilled according to your job description then you are covered under the law.

Where you may not be covered is if you are not able to fulfill your duties. For instance, if your job is to answer the phones, you still need to be able to do that. If your addiction treatment makes that difficult to do, your employer isn’t responsible for that.

3. Leave of absence

If you need time off for drug addiction treatment, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can help. This is another employment law that allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year for medical reasons, including addiction treatment, without losing your job.

It’s your responsibility to let your employer know you need this leave. Try to tell them as soon as you can, and give them enough information to understand why you need the time off. You don’t have to tell them every detail about your treatment, but they need to know it’s a serious health issue.

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